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EMDR & Turama

April 6th, 2023

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of therapy that has gained recognition for its effectiveness in treating trauma. Trauma can manifest in various forms, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, accidents, natural disasters, and witnessing violence. It can have a significant impact on a person’s mental and physical health, and can cause symptoms such as anxiety, depression, flashbacks, nightmares, and panic attacks.


EMDR therapy was developed in the late 1980s by Francine Shapiro, a psychologist who discovered that certain eye movements could reduce the intensity of negative thoughts and emotions associated with traumatic memories. The technique involves a therapist guiding the patient through a series of eye movements, taps or sounds while recalling a traumatic event. This process helps the patient to reprocess the traumatic memories and reduce the distressing symptoms associated with them.

The mechanism behind EMDR is still not fully understood, but it is believed to involve the stimulation of the brain’s natural healing processes. During the therapy, the patient focuses on a traumatic memory while engaging in a bilateral stimulation task such as following the therapist’s finger as it moves from left to right. This stimulates both sides of the brain, which may help the brain to reprocess the memory and reduce the emotional intensity associated with it.

Phases of EMDR & Turama

EMDR is a structured therapy that typically involves eight phases. The first phase involves taking a thorough history of the patient’s trauma and developing a treatment plan. The therapist then helps the patient to develop coping skills that can be used during the therapy sessions and in daily life. The subsequent phases involve identifying and reprocessing traumatic memories, using bilateral stimulation to facilitate the process. The final phase involves reviewing progress and ensuring that the positive changes are maintained.

Numerous studies have shown the effectiveness of EMDR in treating trauma. A randomized controlled trial comparing EMDR to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) found that both therapies were effective in reducing symptoms of PTSD, but EMDR had a quicker onset of improvement and was associated with fewer dropouts. Another study found that EMDR was effective in reducing symptoms of PTSD in veterans, even those with co-occurring substance use disorders.

One of the benefits of EMDR is that it is a relatively short-term therapy. While the number of sessions required varies depending on the severity of the trauma, some patients report significant improvement after just a few sessions. Additionally, EMDR has been found to be effective in treating a wide range of trauma-related disorders, including PTSD, phobias, anxiety disorders, and depression.

The Critics

EMDR is not without its critics, however. Some argue that the effectiveness of the therapy is due to the placebo effect, while others question the theory behind it. Despite these criticisms, the therapy has been recognized by several professional organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization, as an effective treatment for trauma.

In conclusion, EMDR is a promising therapy for those who have experienced trauma. It offers a structured approach that helps patients to reprocess traumatic memories and reduce the distressing symptoms associated with them. While more research is needed to fully understand the mechanism behind EMDR, the therapy has been shown to be effective in treating a range of trauma-related disorders. If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of trauma, EMDR may be worth considering as a treatment option.

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